Some communities in the South Shuswap are hopeful for a piece of a provincial grant dedicated to improve connectivity across British Columbia.
Both Chase and Sicamous councils are keen on receiving grant funding from the Connecting British Columbia program. The program, now in its third phase, aims to help internet service providers and regional and local governments connect people in rural and First Nations communities with high-speed internet.
The allotment of $50 million to the program’s third phase is the largest single investment since the program’s creation in 2015.
At a Village of Chase council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, council heard from residents expressing their frustrations with the slow internet speeds in the area.
“We are disadvantaged as a community with poor internet service, so we are right now investigating the opportunities with this new grant funding program,” said village employee Sean O’Flaherty.
O’Flaherty went on to say the village is in the process of gathering information to submit to a report to council so that an application to the program can be made.
Amanda Passmore, communications officer for the District of Sicamous said the district is looking to see if any proposed projects will meet the program’s funding requirements.
“One project we’re looking into at the moment is installing free public wifi in certain locations such as our downtown, and this program may be a good fit for that project,” Passmore wrote in an email to The Observer.
The program will invite applications through several intakes until no more funds remain. Formal decisions for the first intake will be issued by March 2020 and formal decisions for intake two will be issued by July 2020.